Souhan: Dump these 10 things to make baseball better

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 28, 2012 - 9:57 AM

Be it bunts, shaving cream pies or marriage-cam, some aspects of the sport are dragging it down.

We have more ways to watch baseball than ever. This means you can watch people do lots of dumb stuff.

Sunday, Twins outfielder Ben Revere popped up a bunt in the bottom of the ninth. Sadly, his inability to execute the play obscures the inanity of the attempt.

In honor of that play, here are my Top 10 Stupid Things About Baseball:

1. The sacrifice bunt

The bunt is the dumbest play since "Cats.'' Unless you're an excellent bunter with the speed to create a hit, you never should slide your hand up the bat.

Best case, you're giving away one of your 27 outs in exchange for advancing a runner one base. Worst case, you're failing to advance the runner or bunting into a double play or putting yourself in a two-strike count before you get a chance to swing.

The bunt removes pressure from the pitcher, lessens the possibility of a walk or extra-base hit during the at-bat, and almost always is attempted while fielders charge the plate, removing any margin for error.

Few big-leaguers are good at bunting, so, usually, sacrifice bunt attempts involve people attempting an unfamiliar task of dubious merit under intense defensive pressure.

The bunt should be used less often than chewing tobacco.

2. The walk-off jump-around

When Kendrys Morales broke a leg jumping on home plate after a walk-off home run and landing on a teammate's foot, you would have thought that managers would have banned wild celebrations.

Nope. They're waiting for a home-plate death.

3. Spitting

Would it be too much to ask that millionaires in their workplace not spit every five seconds? Especially when the games are in HD?

4. The hit-and-run

Like the sacrifice bunt, when executed properly, this play makes traditionalists drool. But it's another low-percentage play that too often turns into a double play or removes the possibility of the hitter drawing a walk or hitting a double.

5. Playing stock positions

Baseball teams always have had access to detailed scouting reports, and now they're more detailed than ever. Every manager enters each game knowing exactly where each batter usually hits the ball.

Why not have a pronounced shift for each batter? The Tampa Bay Rays, baseball's smartest organization, are on their way to doing just that.

6. Shaving cream pies

A guy wins a game for you. He's standing in front of the dugout, doing a TV interview, and your resident clubhouse clown sneaks up behind him and smashes a towel filled with shaving cream into his eyes.

Does that sound like a good idea? And has anybody located the person who still finds this funny?

7. Head shots

The more we learn about concussions, and that even slight smacks to the head can be cumulatively damaging, the more baseball players smash teammates in the head after a walk-off victory. This is why there never has been a Mensa meeting in dugout.

8. Throwing back a home run

You buy the ticket, sit in the bleachers, and catch a home run off an opponents' bat. The odds are very much against this. So then you throw it back onto the field, to show some solidarity with the organization that charges you money to sit in their seats?

I've got a better idea: Give the ball to a kid. You'll make the kid's day, and you won't look like a fool.

9. Seating charts

If you're going to take kids, the elderly or anyone who loves to stare at their phone to the game, don't put them in seats where they can be maimed by a foul ball. Sit behind the screen, or deep in the left field bleachers.

10. Marriage-cam

This is how you want to spend what might be the most important moment of your life? On a scoreboard in front of tens of thousands of people who don't know you, and don't want to know you, with the risk that she might say no, or give you The Look?

Wouldn't you be better off doing something less embarrassing? Like streaking?

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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